SDI Prospect Rankings – #9 Ryan Cordell
Ryan Cordell‘s 2015 season began with extreme intrigue and finished with moderate disappointment. Before spring training, the Rangers decided to move the corner outfielder to shortstop, yet Cordell hadn’t played shortstop since high school. On the outside it looked like a bold move that could pay off seeing that he had the instincts and speed desirable in a middle infielder. In reality the move did not work out quite as well as the team had hoped.
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The season started with Cordell as the opening day shortstop in High Desert. After finishing 2014 with an OPS of .914, his offensive ability was clear. It didn’t take long until it was apparent that Cordell was in over his head. After seven errors in 14 games the Rangers decided to move him to split time between third base and outfield. Results at third base were even worse. In 17 games at third in High Desert, Cordell committed eight errors and sported an abysmal .837 fielding percentage.
Defensively, the outfield was and should continue to be Cordell’s home. Cordell’s time in High Desert was not even close to all bad. Playing in the most hitter friendly conditions in the country tends to give hitters some confidence, and it sure did that for Cordell. Most observers paid less attention to his defensive transition than they did his offensive explosion in the California League. During his 68 games there Cordell smacked 31 extra-base hits and slashed .311/.376/.528.
Midway through June Cordell maintained his torrid offensive pace, so the Rangers brought him up to Frisco. And then the rains came. Cordell’s aggressiveness was put under a spotlight by AA pitchers and he started getting nothing but junk, yet he swung at all of it. Cordell’s OPS dropped 307 points from High Desert to Frisco. That’s not ideal.
After High Desert, Cordell didn’t play any more shortstop. The Rangers were still determined to give him 16 games at third, but the results were similar to his time in California. Center field is where I’d place him long term defensively. His speed can be better utilized there and his offense will be more valuable at a premium defensive position up the middle.
Cordell will almost certainly begin 2016 in Frisco. Curtailing Cordell’s instinct to swing at every pitch will be key in his next step of development. Finding him a permanent position should also help steady his development by giving him one less uncertainty. Some scouts aren’t sold that he’ll ever hit, but I don’t believe that’s the case. Cordell is a premium athlete, and if he puts the whole package together this guy could be an absolute monster.